What Features Make A City “Green”?


Green building, green transport, green living, green eating…green everything.

This is the talk that sweeps over the current cosmopolite places of the world and as hard it is to see, hear and understand why we are talking and not acting, there are a few cities in the world able to change completely the perspective we might have over the large but polluted sites of the world.

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Air quality in a city is a sure indicator how green it is the life in that city. It is logical that a city filled with motorized vehicle, a large number of people and a very rich small traditional industry is bound to have a bad air quality.

To this is added the lifestyle of the inhabitants, the amount of garbage the general population produces and the geographical position of the city responsible for the air currents circulation.

All these are factors with direct impact over the city’s ecology and are ultimately responsible for the air quality in it.

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Due to the air current circulation the colder areas of the planet are less exposed to the smog accumulation and the population life style is considered to have a lesser impact in those areas of the planet.

This is the explanation of the fact that Anchorage Alaska is one of the greenest cities in US while Saint Louis is exactly at the opposite pole.

Energy production is another high polluting factor of the large cities of the world. Large populated areas are conditioned by high energy consumption and ultimately by the way that energy is produced.

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The power plants operated of traditional fuel increase the green house effect so we can measure how green a city is by the proportion of sustainable means of energy production it is using.

So the more wind, solar, bio fuel and nuclear energy a city has the greener will it be. Reykjavik – Iceland, Portland – Oregon, U.S., Malmö – Sweden, Vancouver-Canada, Freiburg -Germany are on the top ten greenest cities by the use of green energy criteria.

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A green city is finally evaluated by the quality of life, health, social responsibility, environmental conscious behavior and especially the amount of disturbance the human life causes to the natural environment.

These factors are not only related to buildings and transportation but also to the amount of green spaces a city has, the number of green jobs it offers, the amount of human actions meant to reduce the footprint of the civilization and the level of stress the every day life puts on the city inhabitants.

America can be proud because cities like Madison, Santa Monica, Boston and Eugene are setting an example for green lifestyle.


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